After years of writing about many topics, including surveys and research studies, for PsychCentral.com, we’ve learned to take virtually all findings with a grain of salt. We read and reread the studies, analyze their methodology , and do a lot of extra-curricular reading on whatever the topic is. We also look for bias, even (especially) if we instinctively agree with the findings.
Now we’re thinking that political polls, too, deserve a closer look. Almost no major polls, for example, predicted the defeat of Hillary Clinton by Donald Trump.
One of the polls which did accurately predict the results of the electionwas the IBD/TIPP poll, and this wasn’t a fluke—they have accurately predicted the outcome of the presidential vote in the last four elections. (The LA Times/USC poll was another that got this election right.) The Daily Kos was extremely worried about their election predictions, as they wrote here in October.
We’ve been reading a lot about how pessimistic and worried Americans are feeling. While it’s true that many Americans are very unhappy with the outcome of the election as celebrities such as Meryl Streep confirm, what we’ve been hearing from colleagues and friends is more of a mixed bag. And in fact, some polls tell a different story from the pessimistic view in the media.
Rather than rely on Gallup, Pew, Bloomberg, Reuters, CNN, New York Times, and other leading pollsters who flubbed the election polls (some of them with epic failures), we’ve decided to take a look at the accurate IBD/TIPP pollsters regarding how lousy or good Americans are feeling.
IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism
Economic indicators are pretty much the gold standard in terms of American optimism. Here are some recent survey results from the IBD/TIPP, which might be surprising.
Consumers are feeling hopeful about the future in terms of the nation’s economics. The IBD/TIPP pollsters say: “The Six-Month Outlook, as its name suggests, is a forward-looking gauge of how consumers feel about the economy’s prospects for the next six months. It struck a decidedly bullish note in December, jumping 4.1 points, or 7.9%, to 56.3 for the month.”
In terms of their personal finance, “A gauge of how Americans feel about their own finances in the next six months rose just 0.9 point, or 1.5%, to 59.8. This is one of the most consistently optimistic indexes in the IBD/TIPP data set, and the December reading is 5.5% above its long-term average of 56.7. “
How about how they feel about new changes coming to national policies, the IBD/TIPP pollsters say: “Consistently the lowest of all the subindexes, the Federal Policies component had the biggest gain of all in December, surging 5.2 points, or 12.1%, to 48.3, above its 44.6 long-term average and close to breaking into optimistic territory for the first time since February 2007.”
In Economic Optimism, the pollsters say: “The IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index jumped 3.4 points, or 6.6%, to a 10-year high of 54.8 in December from 41.4 in November…The index is now 6.2 points above its 12-month average of 48.6. And it’s a hefty 10.4 points above the 44.4 level in December of 2007, the month that the U.S. officially entered recession.”
IBD/TIPP Presidential Approval
The IBD/TIPP Presidential Leadership Index shows that in President Obama’s last year in office, it averaged 51. President Obama’s Job Approval rating has skyrocketed to 58 percent this December.
IBD/TIPP Quality of Life
How do we view our quality of life? The overall average for the past 16 years has been 55.7. In December it went to 55.9.
Do Americans Agree On Anything?
Yes! A new IDP/TIPP asked the public to name which of seven agenda items should be the highest, second-highest and third-highest priorities for the new administration (including congress.) The top three surprised even the pollsters. First, 54 percent of those polled wanted the new administration to concentrate on defeating ISIS. 49 percent want lower taxes and a simplified tax code. Next at 48 percent was to fund the improvement of infrastructure. Number four comes in at 47 percent and deserves a mention: “Drain the swamp/fight corruption in Washington.”
While the country may be deeply divided on a partisan basis, on individual issues, it seems like there is a surprising amount of agreement. Will this translate to general improved optimism and a feeling of hope? Only time will tell.